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Seen & Heard: Squid scandal, bike-sharing chaos

November 21, 2020  - By
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“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.


Photo: welcomia/ iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Photo: welcomia/ iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

COVID brings better measurements

A new study shows that the quality of GNSS reflectometry measurements may have improved significantly during the pandemic because of the lack of cars parked near the ground station. The study, carried out by geodesists from the University of Bonn, investigated the location of a precise GNSS antenna in Boston, Massachusetts, where parked cars near the ground station decreased accuracy from 2 to 4 centimeters. GNSS reflectometry is used for earthquake early warning systems, determining flood risks, and many other geodesy applications. Read more about the study.


Photo: Daniel Leeb/Iceland Space Agency

Photo: Daniel Leeb/Iceland Space Agency

But can you press the right button?

A Riegl long-range terrestrial laser scanner helped field test the newly designed MS1 Mars Analog Spacesuit. The test simulated how the new spacesuit design would perform in a polar, Mars-like environment ‚ in this case atop the Grimsvötn Volcano on the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland. The field test was part of a research expedition conducted by the Iceland Space Agency. The team included NASA Coordinator and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Professor Michael Lye, who led the team that designed the MS1, and doctoral students from the University of Iceland.


Photo: pilesasmiles/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: pilesasmiles/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Squid scandal

In June, a fleet of 300 Chinese fishing vessels entered the waters of the Galápagos Islands, reports environmental news website Mongabay. The ships had ostensibly turned off their GNSS-based automatic identification system (AIS) transponders to engage in illegal activities. Their presence was detected by their overhead lights and industrial jigging machines to attract and catch squid. An analysis of radio-signal data also detected unidentified ships within Ecuador’s Galápagos exclusive economic zone (EEZ).The new data provide additional, but still inconclusive, evidence that the Chinese fleet may have entered Ecuador’s EEZ.


Photo: CaoChunhai/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: CaoChunhai/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Bike-sharing chaos

A pilot program in Shenzhen will use China’s BeiDou to regulate bike-sharing and address the problem of bikes parked chaotically or in unpermitted areas, according to Chinese news service Caixin.The program is part of Beijing’s push for wider adoption and commercialization of BeiDou. With guidance from the city’s transportation bureau, BeiDou modules on shared bikes will display parking spots. Users will have to park them within geofenced parking spots.

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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